PRINCE Rivero had waited three games to get his first real opportunity to make his mark for La Salle's Green Archers.
When it finally came, he didn't put it to waste.
The highly touted rookie out of La Salle Greenhills made the most of his minutes from Archers coach Juno Sauler on Sunday afternoon after big men Arnold Van Opstal and Jason Perkins fouled out one after the other in the game against University of the East.
The La Salle rookie scored all of his eight points in the final quarter, including a five-point cluster off feeds from Jeron Teng in the endgame when the Green Archers completed a come-from-behind 60-58 win in a fiercely fought but error-strewn game at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rivero said he was simply out to repay Sauler's faith.
“Nagkataon lang na naipasok ako dahil wala na kaming big men,” said Rivero after the game. “Na-bless din ako ni God na binigyan ako ng playing time at binigyan ako ng trust ni coach Juno.”
Sauler said intuition prompted him to insert Rivero in the lineup with the match still hanging in the balance. A frontliner in high school, the rookie had been mostly used in the small forward position by Sauler in the Archers' previous games.
“Gut feel,' said Sauler later. "Prince has been playing the three spot but we tried him out in the four.”
Rivero said he has been working hard in practices in an effort to gain minutes in his freshman season.
“I keep on working extra naman so I think wala namang reason si coach na mag-doubt na gamitin ako,” said the rookie big man. “Like ngayon, magjo-jogging pa kami ng family ko (after the game).
"Talagang kailangang mag-extra para pataas ng pataas ‘yung level of play at hindi bababa."